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Full text of "The legend of Sleepy Hollow"

THE LlBKAKl 

BRIGHAM YpUNG UNIVERSITl 

PROVO, UTAH 



Digitized by the Internet Archive 
in 2011 with funding from 
Brigham Young University 



http://www.archive.org/details/legendofsleepyho1906irvi 





'/n{r^: 







WASHINGTON IRVING 

JOvafyin^s by 
ARTHUR I KELLER 




The Bobbs -Merrill Company 
Indianapolis 



Copyright 1906 
The Bobbs-Merrill Company 

October 



Note. 

This Edition of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow is 
published by arrangement with Messrs. G. P. 
Putnam's Sons, the authorized publishers of the 
Works of Washington Irving. 



3^® UmA»¥ 
«R0m UTAW 






(i0/ratla7 iJ 



Katrina 



Frontispiece 

PAGE 




A drowsy, dreamy influence seems to hang over the land 

All this he called " doing his duty by their parents " . 21 

He completely carried away the palm from the parson . 27 

Hewoulddelight themequallybyhis anecdotesof witchcraft 33 

From the moment Ichabod laid his eyes upon these regions 

of delight his peace of mind was at an end . . 39 

Ichabod would carry on his suit with the daughter by 

the side of the spring under the great elm , . 45 

And thus gallantly mounted, issued forth like a knight-errant 51 

The wide bosomof the Tappan Zee lay motionless and glassy 57 



The lady of his heart was his partner in the dance 

The story was immediately matched by a thrice marvelous 
adventure of Brom Bones 

He appeared to be a horseman of large dimensions 

He saw the goblin rising in his stirrups, and in the very act 
of hurling his head at him 

Brom Bones conducted the blooming Katrina to the altar 




63 

69 
75 





--\ 




J 



uJT/m 




#.3^ 




THE LEGEND OF SLEEPY 

HOLLOW 

(found among the papers of the late diedrich 

Knickerbocker) 



A pleasing land of drowsy head it was, 
Of dreams that wave before the half-shut eye; 
And of gay castles in the clouds that pass, 
Forever flushing round a summer sky. 

Castle of Indolence. 



In the bosom of one of those spacious coves which indent 
the eastern shore of the Hudson, at that broad expansion of 
the river denominated by the ancient Dutch navigators the 
Tappan Zee, and where they ahvays prudently shortened sail, 
and implored the protection of St. Nicholas when they 
crossed, there lies a small market-town or rural port, which 



'^-1>C 




II 




'^'O*^ 




by some is called Greensburgh, but which is more generally 
and properly known by the name of Tarry Town. This name 
was given, we are told, in former days, by the good house- 
wives of the adjacent country, from the inveterate propensity 
of their husbands to linger about the village tavern on market 
days. Be that as it may, I do not vouch for the fact, but 
merely advert to it, for the sake of being precise and authentic. 
Not far from this village, perhaps about two miles, there is 
a little valley, or rather lap of land, among high hills, which 
is one of the quietest places in the whole world. A small brook 
glides through it, with just murmur enough to lull one to re- 
pose; and the occasional whistle of a quail, or tapping of a 
woodpecker, is almost the only sound that ever breaks in upon 
the uniform tranquillity. 

I recollect that, when a stripling, my first exploit in squirrel- 
shooting was in a grove of tall walnut-trees that shades one 
side of the valley. I had wandered into it at noon-time, when 
all nature is peculiarly quiet, and was startled by the roar of 
my own gun, as it broke the Sabbath stillness around, and was 
prolonged and reverberated by the angry echoes. If ever I 
should wish for a retreat, whither I might steal from the world 




12 





and its distractions, and dream quietly away the remnant of a 
troubled life, I know of none more promising than this little 
valley. 

From the listless repose of the place, and the peculiar char-- 
acter of its inhabitants, who are descendants from_ the original 
Dutch settlers, this sequestered glen has long been known by 
the name of Sleepy Hollow, and its rustic lads are called^ 
the Sleepy Hollow Boys throughout all the neighboring coun- 
try. A drowsy, drea my influence seems to hang over the lan d, 
and to pervade the very atmosphere. Some say that the place 
was bewitched by a High German doctor, during the early days 
of the settlement ; others, that an old Indian chief, the prophet 
or wizard of his tribe, held his powwows there before the 
country was discovered by Master Hendrick Hudson. Cer- 
tain it is the place still continues under the sway of some 
witching power, that holds a spell over the minds of the good 
people, causing them to walk in a continual reverie. They are 
given to all kinds of marvelous beliefs; are subject to trances 
and visions ; and frequently see strange sights, and hear music 
and voices in the air. The whole neighborhood abounds with 
local tales, haunted spots, and twilight superstitions; stars 




13 





t 



shoot and meteors glare oftener across the valley than in any 
other part of the country, and the nightmare, with her whole 
nine fold, seems to make it the favorite scene of her gambols. 
The dominant spirit, howev§r, that haunts this enchanted 
region, and seems to be commander-in-chief of all the powers 
of the air, is the apparition of a figure on horseback without a 
)head. It is said by some to be the ghost of a Hessian trooper, 
whose head had been carried away by a cannon-ball, in some 
nameless battle during the revolutionary war ; and who is ever 
and anon seen by the country folk, hurrying along in the 
gloom of night, as if on the wings of the wind. His haunts are 
not confined to the valley, but extend at times to the adjacent 
roads, and especially to the vicinity of a church at no great 
distance. Indeed, certain of the most authentic historians of 
those parts, who have been careful in collecting and collating 
the floating facts concerning this spectre, allege that the body 
of the trooper, having been in the church-yard, the ghost rides 
forth to the scene of battle hi nio^htly quest of his head ; 
and that the rushing speed with which he sometimes passes 
along the hollow, like a midnight blast, is owing to his being 
belated, and in a hurry to get back to the church-yard before 
daybreak. 



H 






Such is the general purport of this legendary superstition, 
which has furnished materials for many a wild story in that 
region of shadows ; and the spectre is known, at all the country 
firesides, by the name of the Headless Horseman of Sleepy 
Hollow. 

It is remarkable that the visionary propensity I have men- 
tioned is not confined to the native inhabitants of the valley, 
but is unconsciously imbibed by every one who resides there for 
a time. However wide awake they may have been before 
they entered that sleepy region, they are sure, in a little time, 
to inhale the witching influence of the air, and begin to grow 
imaginative^ — to dream dreams, and see apparitions. 

I mention this peaceful spot \vith all jx)ssible laud ; for it is 
in such littl^ mired Dutch vRll^y^, fnnnH hfre and th ere em- 
bosomed in the great State^J[^^^w^ork, Ui^at p02illaJ^ 
ners, and customs remain fixed; while the great torrent of 
migration and improvement, which is making such incessant 
changes in other parts of this restless country, sweeps by 
them unobserved. They are like those little nooks of still 
water which border a rapid stream ; where we may see the 
straw and bubble riding quietly at anchor, or slowly revolving 
in their mimic harbor, undisturbed by the rush of the passing 



.^-.r^J^^ 




17 








^4 



^ 



current. Though many years have elapsed since I trod the 
drowsy shades of Sleepy Hollow, yet I question whether I 
should not still find the same trees and the same families vege- 
tating in its sheltered bosom. 

•^ In this by-place of nature, there abode, in a remote period 
of American history, that is to say, some thirty years since, 
a worthy wight of the name of Ichabod Crane ; who sojourned, 
or, as he expressed it, ''tarried," in Sleepy Hollow, for the 
purpose of instructing the children of the vicinity. He was a 
native of Connecticut; a State which supplies the Union with 
pioneers for the mind as well as for the forest, and sends forth 
yearly its legions of frontier woodsmen and country school- 
masters. The cognomen of Crane was not inapplicable to 
his person. /'He was tall, but exceedingly lank, with narrow 
shoulders, long arms and legs, hands that dangled a mile 
out of his sleeves, feet that might have served for shovels, 
and his whole frame most loosely hung together. His head 
was small, and flat at top, with huge ears, large green glassy 
eyes, and a long snipe nose, so that it looked like a weather-cock 
perched upon his spindle neck, to tell which way the wind 
blew. To see him striding along the profile of a hill on a 
windy day, with his clothes bagging and fluttering about him, 




i8 








"r^j^' 



one might have mistaken him for the genius of famine 
descendin^upon the earth, or some scarecrow eloped from 
a cornfield, ^f 

His school-house was a low building of one large room, 
rudely constructed of logs; the windows partly glazed, and 
partly patched with leaves of old copy-books. It was most in- 
geniously secured at vacant hours, by a withe twisted in the 
handle of the door, and stakes set against the window-shut- 
ters ; so that, though a thief might get in with perfect ease, he 
would find some embarrassment in getting out; an idea most 
probably borrowed by the architect, Yost \"an Houten, from 
the mystery of an eel-pot. The school-house stood in a rather 
lonely but pleasant situation, just at the foot of a woody hill, 
with a brook running close by, and a formidable birch tree 
growing at one end of it. From hence the low murmur of his 
pupils' voices, conning over their lessons, might be heard in 
a drowsy summer's day, like the hum of a beehive; interrupted 
now and then by the authoritative voice of the master, in the 
tone of menace or command ; or, peradventure, by the appal- 
ling sound of the birch, as he urged some tardy loiterer along 
the flowery path of knowledge. Truth to say, he was a con- 
scientious man, and ever bore in mind the golden maxim, 



^<>cr«:' 




19 




Xi^o.^ 




"Spare the rod and spoil the child." — Icliabod Cran e's schola rs 
certainly were not spoiled. 

I would not have it imagined, however, that he was one 
of those cruel potentates of the school, who joy in the smart of 
their subjects; on the contrary, he administered justice with 
discrimination rather than severity; taking the burden off the 
backs of the weak, and laying it on those of the strong. Your 
mere puny stripling, that winced at the least flourish of the. 
rod, was passed by with indulgence; but the claims of justice 
were satisfied by inflicting a double portion on some little, 
tough, wrong-headed, broad-skirted Dutch urchin, who sulked 
and swelled and grew dogged and sullen beneath the birch. 
All this he called "doing his duty by their parents;" and he 
never inflicted a chastisement w^ithout following it by the as- 
surance, so consolatory to the smarting urchin, that "he would 
remember it, and thank him for it the longest day he had to 
live." ^ 

, When school hours were over, he was even the companion 
and playmate of the larger boys ; and on holiday afternoons 
/'would convoy some of the smaller ones home, who happened 
I to have pretty sisters, or good housewives for mothers, noted 
for the comforts of the cupboard. Indeed it behooved him 




20 




I 



















!?7 1 ll'--L.T,'^X f-^- ^' 









to keep on good terms with his pupils. The revenue arising 
from his school was small, and would have been scarcely suf- 
ficient to furnish him with daily bread, for he was a huge 
feeder, and though lank, had the dilating powers of an ana- 
conda; but to help out his maintenance, he was, according to 
country custom in those parts, boarded and lodged at the 
houses of the farmers, whose children he instructed. With 
these he lived successively a week at a time ; thus going the 
rounds of the neighborhood, with all his worldly effects tied 
up in a cotton handkerchief. 

That all this might not be too onerous on the purses of 
his rustic patrons, who are apt to consider the costs of school- 
ing a grievous burden, and schoolmasters as mere drones, he 
had various ways of rendering himself both useful and agreea- 
ble. He assisted the farmers occasionally in the lighter labors 
of their farms ; helped to make hay ; mended the fences ; took 
the horses to water; drove the cows from pasture; and cut 
wood for the winter fire. He laid aside, too, all the dominant 
dignity and absolute sway with which he lorded it in his little 
empire, the school, and became wonderfully gentle and in- 
gratiating. He found favor in the eyes of the mothers, by pet- 
ting the children, particularly the youngest ; and like the 




23 





lion bold, which whilom so magnanimously the lamb did hold, 
he would sit with a child on one knee, and rock a cradle with 
his foot for whole hours together. 

In addition to his other vocations, he was the singing-master 
of the neighborhood, and picked up many bright shillings by 
instructing the young folks in psalmody. It was a matter of 
no little vanity to him, on Sundays, to take his station in front 
of the church gallery, with a band of chosen singers, where, 
in his own mind, he completely carried away the palm from 
the parson. Certain it is, his voice resounded far above all the 
rest of the congregation; and there are peculiar quavers still 
to be heard in that church, and which may even be heard half 
a mile off, quite to the opposite side of the mill-pond, on a still 
Sunday morning, which are said to be legitimately descended 
^from the nose of Ichabod Crane. Thus, by divers little make- 
shifts, in that ingenious way which is commonly denominated 
**by hook and by crook," the worthy pedagogue got on tolera- 
bly enough, and was thought, by all who understood nothing 
of the labor of headwork, to have a wonderful easy life of it. 
The schoolmaster is generally a man of some importance in 
the female circle of a rural neighborhood ; being considered a 
kind of idle gentleman-like personage, of vastly superior taste 




24 





and accomplishments to the rough country swains, and, in- 
deed, inferior in learning only to the parson. His appearance, 
therefore, is apt to occasion some little stir at the tea-table of a 
farmhouse, and the addition of a supernumerary dish of cakes 
or sweetmeats, or peradventure, the parade of a silver tea-pot. 
Our man of letters, therefore, was peculiarly happy in the 
smiles of all the country damsels. How he would figure 
among them in the church-yard, between services on Sundays ! 
gather grapes for them from the wild vines that overrun the 
surrounding trees ; reciting for their amusement all the epi- 
taphs on the tombstones ; or sauntering, with a w^hole bevy of 
them, along the banks of the adjacent mill-pond; while the 
more bashful country bumpkins hung sheepishly back, envy- 
ing his superior elegance and address. 

From his half itinerant life, also, he was a kind of travel- 
ing gazette, carrying the whole budget of local gossip from 
house to house ; so that his appearance was always greeted 
with satisfaction. He was, moreover, esteemed by the women 
as a man of great erudition, for he had read several books 
quite through, and was a perfect master of Cotton Mather's 
History of New England W^itchcraft, in which, by the way, 
he most firmly and potently believed. 




25 





rr%<^j 










He was, in fact, an odd mixture of small shrewdness and 
simple credulity. His appetite for the marvelous, and his 
powers of digesting it were equally extraordinary; and both 
had been increased by his residence in this spellbound region. 
No tale was too gross or monstrous for his capacious sw^allow. 
It was often his delight, after his school was dismissed in the 
afternoon, to stretch himself on the rich bed of clover, border- 
ing the little brook that whimpered by his school-house, and 
there con over old Mather's direful tales, until the gathering 
dusk of evening made the printed page a mere mist before his 
eyes. Then, as he wended his way, by swamp and stream and 
awful woodland, to the farmhouse where he happened to be 
quartered, every sound of nature, at that witching hour, flut- 
tered his excited imagination : the moan of the whip-poor- 
will* from the hill-side; the boding cry of the tree-toad, that 
harbinger of storm ; the dreary hooting of the screech-owl, or 
the sudden rustling in the thicket of birds frightened from 
their roost. The fire-flies, too, which sparkled most vividly in 
the darkest places, now and then startled him, as one of un- 



* The whip-poor-will is a bird which is only heard at night. It receivei 
its name from its note, which is thought to resemble those words. 




26 




v^>^ 




common brightness would stream across his path ; and if, by 
chance, a huge blockhead of a beetle came winging his blun- 
dering flight against him, the poor varlet was ready to give 
up the ghost, with the idea that he was struck with a witch's 
token. His only resource on such occasions, either to drown 
thought, or drive away evil spirits, was to sing psalm tunes ; — 
and the good people of Sleepy Hollow, as they sat by their 
doors of an evening, were often filled with awe, at hearing his 
nasal melody, ''in linked sweetness long drawn out," floating 
from the distant hill, or along the dusky road. 

Another of his sources of fearful pleasure was to pass 
long winter evenings with the old Dutch wives, as they sat 
spinning by the fire,, with a row of apples roasting and splut- 
tering along the hearth, and listen to their marvelous tales 
of ghosts and goblins, and haunted fields, and haunted 
brooks, and haunted bridges, and haunted houses, and par- 
ticularly of the headless horseman, or Galloping Hessian of 
the Hollow, as they sometimes called him. He would delight 
them equally by his anecdotes of witchcraft, and of the dig^ 
ful omens and portentous sights and sounds in the air, which 
prevailed in the early times of Connecticut; and would 
frighten them woefully with speculations upon comets and 



"^. 




29 




'^^os^ 




shooting stars; and with the alarming fact that the world 
did absolutely turn round, and that they were half the time 
topsy-turvy ! 

But if there was a pleasure in all this, while snugly cud- 
dling in the chimney corner of a chamber that was all of a 
ruddy glow from the crackling wood fire, and where, of 
course, no spectre dared to show its face, it was dearly pur- 
chased by the terrors of his subsequent walk homewards. 
What fearful shapes and shadows beset his path amidst the 
dim and ghastly glare of a snowy night! — With what wistful 
look did he eye every trembling ray of light streaming across 
the waste fields from some distant window ! — How often was 
he appalled by some shrub covered with snow, which, like a 
sheeted spectre, beset his very path ! — How often did he shrink 
with curdling awe at the sound of his own steps on the frosty 
crust beneath his feet; and dread to look over his shoulder, 
lest he should behold some uncouth being tramping close be- 
hind him ! — and how often was he thrown into complete dis- 
may by some rushing blast, howling among the trees, in the 
idea that it was the Galloping Hessian on one of his nightly 



scourmgs 



All these, however, were mere terrors of the night, phan- 





^° k& 



JS 







^^•v 
-#>^ 



^■4..\:^ 




toms of the mind that walk in darkness ; and though he had 
seen many spectres in his time, and been more than once beset 
by Satan in divers shapes, in his lonely perambulations, yet 
daylight put an end to all these evils , and he would have passed 
a pleasant life of it, in despite of the Devil and all his works, 
if his path had not been crossed by a being that causes more 
perplexity to mortal man than ghosts, goblins, and the whole 
race of witches put together, and that was — a woman. 

Among the musical disciples who assembled, one evening 
in each week, to receive his instructions in psalmody, was 
Katrina A'an Tassel, the daughter and only child of a sub- 
stantial Dutch farmer. She was a blooming lass of fresh 
eighteen; plump as a partridge; ripe and melting and rosy- 
cheeked as one of her father's peaches, and universally famed, 
not merely for her beauty, but her vast expectations. She was 
withal a little of a coquette, as might be perceived even in her 
dress, which was a mixture of ancient and modern fashions, 
as most suited to set off her charms. She wore the ornaments 
of pure yellow gold, which her great-great-grandmother had 
brought over from Saardam ; the tempting stomacher of the 
olden time; and withal a provokingly short petticoat, to dis- 
play the prettiest foot and ankle in the country round. 




31 (^^ 





'■n 



X y\^^1g,:' 



Ichabod Crane had a soft and foolish heart towards the 
sex ; and it is not to be wondered at, that so tempting a morsel 
soon found favor in his eyes ; more especially after he had 
j visited her in her paternal mansion. Old Baltus Van Tassel 
was a perfect picture of a thriving, contented, liberal-hearted 
farmer. He seldom, it is true, sent either his eyes or his 
thoughts beyond the boundaries of his own farm ; but within 
those everything was snug, happy and well-conditioned. He 
was satisfied with his wealth, but not proud of it ; and piqued 
himself upon the hearty abundance, rather than the style in 
which he lived. His stronghold was situated on the banks of 
the Hudson, in one of those green, sheltered, fertile nooks, in 
which the Dutch farmers are so fond of nestling. A great 
elm-tree spread its broad branches over it ; at the foot of which 
bubbled up a spring of the softest and sweetest water, in a 
little well, formed of a barrel ; and then stole sparkling away 
through the grass, to a neighboring brook, that bubbled along 
among alders and dwarf willows. Hard by the farmhouse 
was a vast barn, that might have served for a church ; every 
window and crevice of which seemed bursting forth with the 
treasures of the farm ; the flail was busily resounding within 
it from morning to night; swallows and martins skimmed 




32 





^'%:^^i: 



r:%^N. 



twittering about the eaves ; and rows of pigeons, some with 
one eye turned up, as if watching the weather, some with their 
heads under their wings, or buried in their bosoms, and others 
swelhng, and cooing, and bowing about their dames, were 
enjoying the sunshine on the roof. Sleek unwieldy porkers 
were grunting in their repose and abundance of their pens; 
whence sallied forth, now and then, troops of sucking pigs, 
as if to snuff the air. A stately squadron of snowy geese were 
riding- in an adjoining pond, convoying whole fleets of ducks; 
regiments of turkeys were gobbling through the farmyard, 
and guinea fowls fretting about it like ill-tempered house- 
wives, with their peevish discontented cry. Before the barn 
door strutted the gallant cock, that pattern of a husband, a war- 
rior, and a fine gentleman, clapping his burnished wings, and 
crowing in the pride and gladness of his heart — sometimes 
tearing up the earth with his feet, and then generously calling 
his ever-hungry family of wives and children to enjoy the rich 
morsel which he had discovered. 

The pedagogue's mouth watered, as he looked upon this 
sumptuous promise of luxurious winter fare. In his devouring 
mind's eye, he pictured to himself every roasting-pig running 
about, with a pudding in his belly, and an apple in his mouth; 



.,^.rv3:>v-- 




35 








the pigeons were snugly put to bed in a comfortable pie, and 
tucked in with a coverlet of crust; the geese were swimming in 
their own gravy; and the ducks pairing cozily in dishes, like 
snug married couples, with a decent competency of onion sauce. 
In the porkers he saw carved out the future sleek side of bacon, 
and juicy relishing ham; not a turkey but he beheld daintily 
trussed up, with its gizzard under its wing, and, peradventure, 
a necklace of savory sausages ; and even bright chanticleer him- 
self lay sprawling on his back, in a side-dish, with uplifted 
claws, as if craving that quarter which his chivalrous spirit 
disdained to ask while living. 

As the enraptured Ichabod fancied all this, and as he rolled 
his great green eyes over the fat meadow-lands, the rich 
fields of wheat, of rye, of buckwheat, and Indian corn, and 
the orchards burthened with ruddy fruit, which surrounded 
the warm tenement of Van Tassel, his heart yearned after the 
damsel who was to inherit these domains, and his imagina- 
tion expanded with the idea, how they might be readily turned 
into cash, and the money invested in immense tracts of wild 
land, and shingle palaces in the wilderness. Nay, his busy 
fancy already realized his hopes, and presented to him the 
blooming Ka^rina, with a whole family of children, mounted 




36 












on the top of a wagon loaded with household trumpery, with 
pots and kettles dangling beneath ; and he beheld himself be- 
striding a pacing mare, with a colt at her heels, setting out for 
Kentucky, Tennessee, or the Lord knows where. 

When he entered the house the conquest of his heart was 
complete. It was one of those spacious farmhouses, with 
high-ridged, but lowly-sloping roofs, built in the style handed 
down from the first Dutch settlers; the low projecting eaves 
forming a piazza along the front, capable of being closed up 
in bad weather. Under this were hung flails, harness, various 
utensils of husbandry, and nets for fishing in the neighboring 
river. Benches were built along the sides for summer use; 
and a great spinning-wheel at one end, and a churn at the 
other, showed the various uses to which this important porch 
might be devoted. From this piazza the wondering Ichabod 
entered the hall, which formed the center of the mansion and 
the place of usual residence. Here, rows of resplendent pewter, 
ranged on a long dresser, dazzled his eyes. In one corner 
stood a huge bag of wool ready to be spun ; in another a quan- 
tity of linsey-woolsey just from the loom ; ears of Indian corn, 
and strings of dried apples and peaches, hung in gay festoons 
along the walls, mingled with the gaud of red peppers ; and a 




37 



»j^, (t^'l-4^.^^^ 

|^'^^^^^i^'^-<>^ 








door left ajar gave him a peep into the best parlor, where the 
claw-footed chairs, and dark mahogany tables shone like mir- 
rors; andirons, with their accompanying shovel and tongs, 
glistened from their covert of asparagus tops; mock-oranges 
and conch-shells decorated the mantelpiece; strings of va- 
rious-colored birds' eggs were suspended above it; a great 
ostrich egg was hung from the centre of the room, and a 
corner cupboard, knowingly left open, displayed immense 
treasures of old silver and well-mended china. 

From the moment Ichabod laid his eyes upon these regions 
of delight, the peace of his mind was at an end, and his only 
study was how to gain the affections of the peerless daughter 
of Van Tassel. In this enterprise, however, he had more real 
difficulties than generally fell to the lot of a knight-errant of 
yore, who seldom had anything but giants, enchanters, fiery 
dragons, and such like easily-conquered adversaries, to con- 
tend with ; and had to make his way merely through gates of 
iron and brass, and walls of adamant, to the castle-keep, where 
the lady of his heart was confined ; all which he achieved as 
easily as a man would carve his way to the center of a Christ- 
mas pie ; and then the lady gave him her hand as a matter of 
course. Ichabod, on the contrary, had to win his way to the 




38 










„y?^-' 



* • 'K'^. 







heart of a country coquette, beset with a labyrinth of whims 
and caprices, which were for ever presenting new difficuhies 
and impediments, and he had to encounter a host of fearful 
adversaries of real flesh and blood, the numerous rustic ad- 
mirers, who beset every portal to her heart ; keeping a watch- 
ful and angry eye upon each other, but ready to fly out in the 
common cause against any new competitor. 

Among these the most formidable was a burly, roaring, 
roystering blade, of the name of^Abraham, or, according to the 
D iitch abbreviation . Brom Van Brunt, the hero of the country 
round, which rang with his feats of strength and hardihood. 
He was broad-shouldered and double-jointed, with short, 
curly black hair, and a bluff, but not unpleasant countenance, 
having a mingled air of fun and arrogance. From his Hercu- 
lean frame and great powers of limb, he had received the nick- 
name of Brom Bones, by which he was universally known. 
He was famed for great knowledge and skill in horseman- 
ship, being as dexterous on horseback as a Tartar. He was 
foremost at all races and cock-fights ; and, with the ascendency 
which bodily strength always acquires in rustic life, was the 
umpire in all disputes, setting his hat on one side, and giving 
his decisions with an air and tone admitting of no gainsay 




^?^ 




or appeal. He was always ready for either a fight or a frolic ; 
but had more mischief than ill-will in his composition ; and, 
with all his overbearing roughness, there was a strong 
dash of waggish good humor at bottom. He had three or 
four boon companions, who regarded him as their model, 
and at the head of whom he scoured the country, attend- 
ing every scene of feud or merriment for miles round. In 
cold weather he was distinguished by a fur cap, surmounted 
with a flaunting fox's tail ; and when the folks at a country 
gathering descried this well-known crest at a distance, whisk- 
ing about among a squad of hard riders, they always stood by 
for a squall. Sometimes his crew would be heard clashing 
along past the farmhouses at midnight, with whoop and 
halloo, like a troop of Don Cossacks ; and the old dames, 
startled out of their sleep, would listen for a moment till the 
hurry-scurry had clattered by, and then exclaim, '^Vy, there 
goes Brom Bones and his gang!" The neighbors looked upon 
him with a mixture of awe, admiration, and good-will ; and 
when any madcap prank, or rustic brawl, occurred in the vicin- 
ity, always shook their heads, and warranted Brom Bones 
was at the bottom of it. 

This rantipole hero had for some time singled out the 






blooming Katrina for the object of his uncouth gallantries, 
and though his amorous toyings were something like the 
gentle caresses and endearments of a bear, yet it was whis- 
pered that she did not altogether discourage his hopes. Cer- 
tain it is, his advances were signals for rival candidates to 
retire, who felt no inclination to cross a lion in his amours ; 
insomuch, that when his horse was seen tied to Van Tassel's 
palings, on a Sunday night, a sure sign that his master was 
courting, or, as it is termed, "sparking" within, all other 
suitors passed by in despair, and carried the war into other 
quarters. 

Such was the formidable rival with whom Ichabod Crane 
had to contend, and, considering all things, a stouter man 
than he would have shrunk from the competition, and a wiser 
man would have despaired. He had, however, a happy mix- 
ture of pliability and perseverance in his nature; he was in 
form and spirit like a supple-jack — yielding, but tough; 
though he bent, he never broke ; and though he bowed beneath 
the slightest pressure, yet, the moment it was away — jerk ! he 
was as erect, and carried his head as high as ever. 

To have taken the field openly against his rival would have 
been madness; for he was not a man to be thwarted in his 




amours, any more than that stormy lover, Achilles. Ichabod, 
therefore, made his advances in a quiet and gently-insinuating 
manner. Under cover of his character of singing-master, he 
made frequent visits at the farmhouse; not that he had any 
thing to apprehend from the meddlesome interference of 
parents, which is so often a stumbling-block in the path of 
lovers. Bait Van Tassel was an easy indulgent soul ; he loved 
his daughter better even than his pipe, and, like a reasonable 
man and an excellent father, let her have her way in every 
thing. His notable little wife, too, had enough to do to attend 
to her housekeeping and manage her poultry; for, as she 
sagely observed, ducks and geese are foolish things, and must 
be looked after, but girls can take care of themselves. Thus 
while the busy dame bustled about the house, or plied her 
spinning-wheel at one end of the piazza, honest Bait would sit 
smoking his evening pipe at the other, watching the achieve- 
ments of a little wooden warrior, who, armed with a sword 
in each hand, was most valiantly fighting the wind on 
the pinnacle of the barn. In the meantime, Ichabod would 
carry on his suit with the daughter by the side of the spring 
under the great elm, or sauntering along in the twilight, that 
hour so favorable to the lover's eloquence. 




44 





I profess not to know how women's hearts are wooed and 
won. To me they have ahvays been matters of riddle and 
admiration. Some seem to have but one vulnerable point, 
or door of access ; while others have a thousand avenues, 
and may be captured in a thousand different ways. It is a 
great triumph of skill to gain the former, but a still greater 
proof of generalship to maintain possession of the latter, for 
the man must battle for his fortress at every door and window. 
He who wins a thousand common hearts is therefore en- 
titled to some renown ; but he who keeps undisputed sway 
over the heart of a coquette, is indeed a hero. Certain it is, 
this was not the case with the redoubtable Brom Bones ; and 
from the moment Ichabod Crane made his advances, the inter- 
ests of the former evidently declined ; his horse was no longer 
seen tied at the palings on Sunday nights, and a deadly feud 
gradually arose between him and the preceptor of Sleepy 
Hollow. 

Brom, who had a degree of rough chivalry in his nature, 
would fain have carried matters to open warfare, and have set- 
tled their pretensions to the lady, according to the mode of 
those most concise and simple reasoners, the knights-errant 
of yore — by single combat; but Ichabod was too conscious 




47 




> 




of the superior might of his adversary to enter the hsts 
against him ; he had overheard a boast of Bones that he 
would ''double the schoolmaster up, and lay him on a shelf 
of his own school-house;" and he was too wary to give him 
an opportunity. There was something extremely provoking 
in this obstinately pacific system; it left Brom no alternative 
but to draw upon the funds of rustic waggery in his dispo- 
sition, and to play off boorish practical jokes upon his rival. 
Ichabod became the object of whimsical persecutions to Bones, 
and his gang of rough riders. They harried his hitherto 
peaceful domains ; smoked out his singing-school, by stopping 
up the chimney; broke into the school -house at night, in spite 
of its formidable fastenings of withe and window-stakes, and 
turned everything topsy-turvy ; so that the poor schoolmaster 
began to think all the witches in the country held their meet- 
ings there. But what was still more annoying, Brom took all 
opportunities of turning him into ridicule in presence of his 
mistress, and had a scoundrel dog whom he taught to whine 
in the most ludicrous manner, and introduced as a rival of 
Ichabod's to instruct her in psalmody. 

In this way matters went on for some time, without pro- 
ducing any material effect on the relative situation of the 




48 





contending powers. On a fine autumnal afternoon, Ichabod, 
in pensive mood, sat enthroned on the lofty stool whence he 
usually watched all the concerns of his little literary realm. In 
his hand he swayed a ferule, that sceptre of despotic power; the 
birch of justice reposed on three nails, behind the throne, a 
constant terror to evil doers ; while on the desk before him 
might be seen sundry contraband articles and prohibited 
weapons, detected upon the persons of idle urchins ; such as 
half-munched apples, pop-guns, whirligigs, fly-cages, and 
whole legions of rampant little paper game-cocks. Apparently 
there had been some appalling act of justice recently inflicted, 
for his scholars were all busily intent upon their books, or slyly 
whispering behind them with one eye kept upon the master; 
and a kind of buzzing stillness reigned throughout the school- 
room. It was suddenly interrupted by the appearance of a 
negro, in tow-cloth jacket and trousers, a round-crowned 
fragment of a hat, like the cap of Mercury, and mounted on 
the back of a ragged, wild, half-broken colt, which he man- 
aged with a rope by way of halter. He came clattering up to 
the school door with an invitation to Ichabod to attend a 
merry-making, or "quilting-frolic," to be held that evening 
at Mynheer Van Tassel's; and having delivered his message 




49 












with that air of importance, and effort at fine language, which 
a negro is apt to display on petty embassies of the kind, he 
dashed over the brook, and was seen scampering away up the 
hollow, full of the importance and hurry of his mission. 

All was now bustle and hubbub in the late quiet school- 
room. The scholars were hurried through their lessons, with- 
out stopping at trifles; those who were nimble skipped over 
half with impunity, and those who were tardy, had a smart 
application now and then in the rear, to quicken their speed, 
or help them over a tall word. Books were flung aside without 
being put away on the shelves, ink-stands were overturned, 
benches thrown down, and the whole school was turned loose 
an hour before the usual time, bursting forth like a legion of 
young imps, yelping and racketing about the green, in joy at 
their early emancipation. 

The gallant Ichabod now spent at least an extra half-hour 
at his toilet, brushing and furbishing up his best, and indeed 
only suit of rusty black, and arranging his looks by a bit of 
broken looking-glass, that hung up in the school-house. 
That he might make his appearance before his mistress in the 
true style of a cavalier, he borrowed a horse from the farmer 
with whom he was domiciliated, a choleric old Dutchman, of 



(J=n:^ 




50 





the name of Hans Van Ripper, and, thus gallantly mounted 
issued forth, like a knight-errant, in quest of adventures. But it 
^ ' is meet I should, in the true spirit of romantic story, give some 
account of the looks and equipments of my hero and his steed. 
The animal he bestrode was a broken-down plough-horse, that 
had outlived almost everything but his viciousness. He was 
gaunt and shagged, with a ewe neck and a head like a hammer ; 
his rusty mane and tail were tangled and knotted with burrs; 
one eye had lost its pupil, and was glaring and spectral; but 
the other had the gleam of a genuine devil in it. Still he must 
have had fire and mettle in his day, if w^e may judge from the 
name he bore of Gunpowder. He had, in fact, been a favorite 
steed of his master's, the choleric Van Ripper, who was a furi- 
ous rider, and had infused, very probably, some of his own 
spirit into the animal ; for, old and broken-down as he looked, 
there was more of the lurking devil in him than in any young 
filly in the country. 

Ichabod was a suitable figure for such a steed. He rode 
with short stirrups, which brought his knees nearly up to 
the pommel of the saddle; his sharp elbows stuck out like 
grasshoppers' ; he carried his whip perpendicularly in his hand, 
like a sceptre, and, as his horse jogged on, the motion of his 




53 





*'^>'^l^* 










arms was not unlike the flapping of a pair of wings. A small 
wool hat rested on the top of his nose, for so his scanty strip of 
forehead might be called ; and the skirts of his black coat flut- 
tered out almost to the horse's tail. Such was the appearance 
of Ichabod and his steed, as they shambled out of the gate of 
Hans Van Ripper, and it was altogether such an apparition as 
is seldom to be met with in broad daylight. 

It was, as I have said, a fine autumnal day, the sky was 
clear and serene, and nature wore that rich and golden livery 
which we always associate with the idea of abundance. The 
forests had put on their sober brown and yellow, while some 
trees of the tenderer kind had been nipped by the frosts into 
brilliant dyes of orange, purple, and scarlet. Streaming files 
of wild ducks began to make their appearance high in the air ; 
the bark of the scjuirrel might be heard from the groves of 
beech and hickory-nuts, and the pensive whistle of the quail 
at intervals from the neighboring stubble-field. 

The small birds were taking their farewell banquets. In 
the fulness of their revelry, they fluttered, chirping and frolick- 
ing, from bush to bush, and tree to tree, capricious from the 
very profusion and variety around them. There was the honest 
cock-robin, the favorite game of stripling sportsmen, with its 




54 C^- 





1^ 



loud querulous note; and the twittering blackbirds flying in 
sable clouds ; and the golden-winged woodpecker, with his 
crimson crest, his broad black gorget, and splendid plumage; 
and the cedar bird, with its red-tipt wings and yellow-tipt tail, 
and the little monteiro cap of feathers ; and the blue-jay, that 
noisy coxcomb, in his gay light-blue coat and white under- 
clothes ; screaming and chattering, nodding and bobbing and 
bowing, and pretending to be on good terms with every song- 
ster of the grove. 

As Ichabod jogged slowly on his way, his eye, ever open 
to every symptom of culinary abundance, ranged with delight 
over the treasures of jolly autumn. On all sides he beheld 
vast stores of apples ; some hanging in oppressive opulence on 
the trees ; some gathered into baskets and barrels for the mar- 
ket ; others heaped up in rich piles for the cider-press. Farther 
on he beheld great fields of Indian corn, with its golden ears 
peeping from their leafy coverts, and holding out the promise 
of cakes and hasty-pudding; and the yellow pumpkins lying 
beneath them, turning up their fair round bellies to the sun, and 
giving ample prospects of the most luxurious of pies ; and anon 
he passed the fragrant buckwheat fields, breathing the odor of 
the bee-hive; and as he beheld them, soft anticipations stole 




55 








over his mind of dainty slap-jacks, well-buttered, and garnished 
with honey or treacle, by the delicate little dimpled hand of 
Katrina Van Tassel. 

Thus feeding his mind with many sweet thoughts and 
^'sugared suppositions," he journeyed along the sides of a 
range of hills which look out upon some of the goodliest 
scenes of the mighty Hudson. The sun gradually wheeled 
his broad disk down into the west. The wide bosom of the 
Tappan Zee lay motionless and glassy, excepting that here 
and there a gentle undulation waved and prolonged the blue 
shadow of the distant mountain. A few amber clouds floated 
in the sky, without a breath of air to move them. The horizon 
was of a fine golden tint, changing gradually into a pure apple 
green, and from that into the deep blue of the mid-heaven. A 
slanting ray lingered on the woody crests of the precipices that 
overhung some parts of the river, giving greater depth to the 
dark-gray and purple of their rocky sides. A sloop was loiter- 
ing in the distance, dropping slowly down with the tide, her 
sail hanging uselessly against the mast; and as the reflection 
of the sky gleamed along the still water, it seemed as if the 
vessel was suspended in the air. 

It was toward evening that Ichabod arrived at the castle 




56 





of the Herr Van Tassel, which he found thronged with the 
pride and flower of the adjacent country. Old farmers, a 
spare leathern-faced race, in homespun coats and breeches, 
blue stockings, huge shoes, and magnificent pewter buckles. 
Their brisk withered little dames, in close crimped caps, long- 
waisted short-gowns, homespun petticoats, with scissors and 
pin-cushions, and gay calico pockets hanging on the outside. 
Buxom lasses, almost as antiquated as their mothers, except- 
ing where a straw hat, a fine ribbon, or perhaps a white frock, 
gave symptoms of city innovations. The sons, in short square- 
skirted coats with rows of stupendous brass buttons, and their 
hair generally queued in the fashion of the times, especially if 
they could procure an eel-skin for the purpose, it being 
esteemed, throughout the country, as a potent nourisher and 
strengthener of the hair. 

Brom Bones, however, was the hero of the scene, having 
come to the gathering on his favorite steed Daredevil, a crea- 
ture, like himself, full of mettle and mischief, and which no 
one but himself could manage. He was, in fact, noted for 
preferring vicious animals, given to all kinds of tricks, which 
kept the rider in constant risk of his neck, for he held a tract- 
able well-broken horse as unworthy of a lad of spirit. 




59 




^^^ 




Fain would I pause to dwell upon the world of charms 
that burst upon the enraptured gaze of my hero, as he en- 
tered the state parlor of \"an Tassel's mansion. Not those 
of the bevy of buxom lasses, with their luxurious display of 
red and white ; but the ample charms of a genuine Dutch 
country tea-table, in the sumptuous time of autumn. Such 
heaped-up platters of cakes of various and almost indescribable 
kinds, known only to experienced Dutch housewives! There 
w^as the doughty dough-nut, the tender oly koek, and the crisp 
and crumbling cruller; sweet cakes and short cakes, ginger 
cakes and honey cakes, and the whole family of cakes. And 
then there were apple pies and peach pies and pumpkin pies; 
besides slices of ham and smoked beef; and moreover delecta- 
ble dishes of preserved plums, and peaches, and pears, and 
quinces ; not to mention broiled shad and roasted chickens ; to- 
gether with bowls of milk and cream, all mingled higgledy- 
piggledy, pretty much as I have enumerated them, with the 
motherly tea-pot sending up its clouds of vapor from the 
midst — Heaven bless the mark ! I want breath and time to dis- 
cuss this banquet as it deserves, and am too eager to get on 
with my story. Happily, Ichabod Crane was not in so great a 
hurry as his historian, but did ample justice to every dainty. 




60 





He was a kind and thankful creature, whose heart dilated 
in proportion as his skin was filled with good cheer ; and whose 
spirits rose with eating, as some men's do with drink. He 
could not help, too, rolling his large eyes round him as he ate, 
and chuckling with the possibility that he might one day be 
lord of all this scene of almost unimaginable luxury and splen- 
dor. Then, he thought, how soon he'd turn his back upon the 
old school-house; snap his fingers in the face of Hans Van 
Ripper, and every other niggardly patron, and kick any itiner- 
ant pedagogue out of doors that should dare to call him com-/ 
rade ! 

Old Baltus Van Tassel moved about among his guests with 
a face dilated with content and good humor, round and jolly 
as the harvest moon. His hospitable attentions were brief, 
but expressive, being confined to a shake of the hand, a slap 
on the shoulder, a loud laugh, and a pressing invitation to "fall 
to, and help themselves." 

And now the sound of the music from the common room, or 
hall, summoned to the dance. The musician was an old gray- 
headed negro, who had been the itinerant orchestra of the 
neighborhood for more than half a century. His instrument 
was as old and battered as himself. The greater part of the 




6i 





time he scraped on two or three strings, accompanying 
every movement of the bow with a motion of the head ; bowing 
almost to the ground, and stamping with his foot whenever a 
fresh couple were to start. 

Ichabod prided himself upon his dancing as much as upon 
his vocal powers. Not a limb, not a fibre about him was idle; 
and to have seen his loosely hung frame in full motion, and 
clattering about the room, you would have thought St. Vitus 
himself, that blessed patron of the dance, was figuring before 
you in person. He was the admiration of all the negroes ; who, 
having gathered, of all ages and sizes, from the farm and the 
neighborhood, stood forming a pyramid of shining black faces 
at every door and window, gazing with delight at the scene, 
rolling their white eye-balls, and showing grinning rows of 
ivory from ear to ear. How could the flogger of urchins be 
otherwise than animated and joyous? the lady of his heart was 
his partner in the dance, and smiling graciously in reply to all 
his amorous oglings ; while Brom Bones, sorely smitten with 
love and jealousy, sat brooding by himself in one corner. 

When the dance was at an end, Ichabod was attracted to a 
knot of the sage folks, who, with old Van Tassel, sat smok- 
ing at one end of the piazza, gossiping over former times, and 
drawing out long stories about the war. 




62 




• V 






m 



:,^Pl*^— ^^Kt^ 



> 







^V 




This neighborhood, at the time of which I am speaking, 
was one of those highly-favored places which abound with 
chronicle and great men. The British and American line had 
run near it during the war ; it had, therefore, been the scene of 
marauding, and infested with refugees, cow-boys, and all kinds 
of border chivalry. Just sufficient time had elapsed to enable 
each story-teller to dress up his tale w^ith a little becoming 
fiction, and, in the indistinctness of his recollection, to make 
himself the hero of every exploit. 

There was the story of Doffue Martling, a large blue- 
bearded Dutchman, who had nearly taken a British frigate 
with an old iron nine-pounder from a mud breastwork, only 
that his gun burst at the sixth discharge. And there was an 
old gentleman who shall be nameless, being too rich a mynheer 
to be lightly mentioned, who, in the battle of White-plains, be- 
ing an excellent master of defense, parried a musket-ball with 
a small sword, insomuch that he absolutely felt it whiz round 
the blade, and glance off at the hilt : in proof of which, he was 
ready at any time to show the sword, with the hilt a little bent. 
There were several more that had been equally great in the 
field, not one of whom but was persuaded that he had a con- 
siderable hand in bringing the war to a happy termination. 



'^^C^^'t^ 




6s 




Xi.o«S^ 




n.M,..., ^,,,::lllu . unu.,..}xiniiuA^u.,iij,^jii.nnjui,^.Muiiujniu;j.nu,!/jau.>MiiMiiuuiiMlnUlunHI/nn}\iiunu, /lli/!/i tnr?/n »-■>-. 



But all these were nothing to the tales of ghosts and ap- 
paritions that succeeded. The neighborhood is rich in legend- 
ary treasures of the kind. Local tales and superstitions thrive 
best in these sheltered long-settled retreats; but are trampled 
under foot by the shifting throng that forms the population ol 
most of our country places. Besides, there is no encourage- 
ment for ghosts in most of our villages, for they have scarcely 
had time to finish their first nap, and turn themselves in their 
graves, before their surviving friends have traveled- away from 
the neighborhood ; so that when they turn out at night to walk 
their rounds, they have no acquaintance left to call upon. This 
is perhaps the reason why we so seldom hear of ghosts except 
in our long-established Dutch communities. 

The immediate cause, however, of the prevalence of super- 
natural stories in these parts, was doubtless owing to the vi- 
cinity of Sleepy Hollow. There was a contagion in the very 
air that blew from that haunted region ; it breathed forth an 
atmosphere of dreams and fancies infecting all the land. Sev- 
eral of the Sleepy Hollow people were present at Van Tassel's, 
and, as usual, were doling out their wild and wonderful legends. 
Many dismal tales were told about funeral trains, and mourn- 
ing cries and wailings heard and seen about the great tree 




66 





WT 






.11^ . 






, iV'."^^^' -•% "K^^Ea?»■'«g:'' 









where the unfortunate Major Andre was taken, and which 
stood in the neighborhood. Some mention was made also of 
the woman in white, that haunted the dark glen at Raven Rock, 
and was often heard to shriek on winter nights before a storm, 
having perished there in the snow. The chief part of the 
stories, however, turned upon the favorite spectre of Sleepy 
Hollow, the headless horseman, who had been heard several 
times of late, patrolling the country; and, it is said, tethered 
his horse nightly among the graves in the church-yard. 

The sequestered situation of this church seems always to 
have made it a favorite haunt of troubled spirits. It stands 
on a knoll, surrounded by locust-trees and lofty elms, from 
among which its decent whitewashed walls shine modestly 
forth, like Christian purity beaming through the shades of 
retirement. A gentle slope descends from it to a silver sheet 
of water, bordered by high trees, between which, peeps may 
be caught at the blue hills of the Hudson. To look upon its 
grass-grown yard, where the sunbeams seem to sleep so quietly, 
one would think that there at least the dead might rest in peace. 
On one side of the church extends a wide woody dell, along 
which raves a large brook among broken rocks and trunks of 
fallen trees. Over a deep black part of the stream, not far from 




67 




'k:>^ 




the church, was formerly thrown a wooden bridge ; the road 
that led to it, and the bridge itself, were thickly shaded by over- 
hanging trees, which cast a gloom about it, even in the day- 
time ; but occasioned a fearful darkness at night. This was one 
of the favorite haunts of the headless horseman ; and the place 
where he was most frequently encountered. The tale was told 
of old Brouwer, a most heretical disbeliever in ghosts, how he 
met the horseman returning from his foray 'into Sleepy Hollow, 
and was obliged to get up behind him ; how they galloped over 
bush and brake, over hill and swamp, until they reached the 
bridge ; when the horseman suddenly turned into a skeleton, 
threw old Brouwer into the brook, and sprang away over the 
tree-tops with a clap of thunder. 

This story was immediately matched by a thrice marvelous 
adventure of Brom Bones, who made light of the Galloping 
Hessian as an arrant jockey. He affirmed that, on returning 
one night from the neighboring village of Sing-Sing, he had 
been overtaken by this midnight trooper ; that he had offered to 
race with him for a bowl of punch, and should have won it too, 
for Daredevil beat the goblin horse all hollow, but, just as they 
came to the church bridge, the Hessian bolted, and vanished 
in a flash of fire. 




68 





All these tales, told in that drowsy undertone with which 
men talk in tlie dark, the countenances of the listeners only 
now and then receiving a casual gleam from the glare of a 
pipe, sank deep in the mind of Ichabod. He repaid them in 
kind with large extracts from his invaluable author, Cotton 
Mather, and added many marvelous events that had taken 
place in his native State of Connecticut, and fearful sights 
which he had seen in his nightly walks about Sleepy Hollow. 

The revel now gradually broke up. The old farmers gath- 
ered together their families in their wagons, and were heard 
for some time rattling along the hollow roads, and over the 
distant hills. Some of the damsels mounted on pillions behind 
their favorite swains, and their light-hearted laughter, min- 
gling with the clatter of hoofs, echoed along the silent wood- 
lands, sounding fainter and fainter until they gradually 
died away — and the late scene of noise and frolic was all silent 
and deserted. Ichabod only lingered behind, according to the 
custom of country lovers, to have a tete-a-tete with the heiress, 
fully convinced that he was now on the high road to success. 
A\'hat passed at this interview I will not pretend to say, for in 
fact I do not know. Something, howe\'er, I fear me, must have 
gone wrong, for he certainly sallied forth, after no very great 



.^--^^J^^ 







interval, with an air quite desolate and chop-fallen. — Oh these 
women ! these women ! Could that girl have been playing off 
any of her coquettish tricks? — Was her encouragement of the 
poor pedagogue all a mere sham to secure her conquest of his 
rival ? — Heaven only knows, not I ! — Let it suffice to say, 
Ichabod stole forth with the air of one who had been sacking 
a hen-roost, rather than a fair lady's heart. Without looking 
to the right or left to notice the scene of rural wealth, on 
which he had so often gloated, he went straight to the stable, 
and with several hearty cuffs and kicks, roused his steed most 
uncourteously from the comfortable quarters in which he was 
soundly sleeping, dreaming of mountains of corn and oats, and 
whole valleys of timothy and clover. 

It was the very witching time of night that Ichabod, heavy- 
hearted and crest-fallen, pursued his travel homew^ards, along 
the sides of the lofty hills which rise above Tarry Town, and 
which he had traversed so cheerily in the afternoon. The hour 
was as dismal as himself. Far below him, the Tappan Zee 
spread its dusky and indistinct waste of waters, with here and 
there the tall mast of a sloop, riding quietly at anchor under 
the land. In the dead hush of midnight, he could even hear 
the barking of the watch dog from the opposite shore of the 




72 





Hudson ; but it was so vague and faint as only to give an idea 
of his distance from this faithful companion of man. Now 
and then, too, the long-drawn crowing of a cock, accidentally 
awakened, would sound far, far off, from some farmhouse 
away among the hills — but it was like a dreaming sound in his 
ear. No signs of life occurred near him, but occasionally the 
melancholy chirp of a cricket, or perhaps the guttural twang 
of a bull- frog from a neighboring marsh, as if sleeping uncom- 
fortably, and turning suddenly in his bed. 

All the stories of ghosts and goblins that he had heard in 
the afternoon, now came crowding upon his recollection. 
The night grew darker and darker; the stars seemed to sink 
deeper in the sky, and driving clouds occasionally hid them 
from his sight. He had never felt so lonely and dismal. He 
was, moreover, approaching the very place where many of the 
scenes of the ghost stories had been laid. In the centre of the 
road stood an enormous tulip-tree, which towered like a giant 
above all the other trees of the neighborhood, and formed a 
kind of landmark. Its limbs were gnarled, and fantastic, large 
enough to form trunks for ordinary trees, twisting down al- 
most to the earth, and rising again into the air. It was con- 
nected with the tragical story of the unfortunate Andre, who 




73 




^^*o.s^ 




had been taken prisoner hard by; and was universally known 
by the name of Major Andre's tree. The common people re- 
garded it with a mixture of respect and superstition, partly 
out of sympathy for the fate of its ill-starred namesake, and 
partly from the tales of strange sights and doleful lamenta- 
tions told concerning it. 

As Ichabod approached this fearful tree, he began to whistle : 
he thought his whistle w^as answered — it was but a blast 
sweeping sharply through the dry branches. As he approached 
a little nearer, he thought he saw something white, hanging in 
the midst of the tree — he paused and ceased whistling; but on 
looking more narrowly, perceived that it was a place where the 
tree had been scathed by lightning, and the white wood laid 
bare. Suddenly he heard a groan — his teeth chattered and his 
knees smote against the saddle : it was but the rubbing of one 
huge bough upon another, as they were swayed about by the 
breeze. He passed the tree in safety, but new perils lay before 
him. 

About two hundred yards from the tree a small brook 
crossed the road, and ran into a marshy and thickly-wooded 
glen, known by the name of Wiley's swamp. A few rough 
logs laid side by side, served for a bridge over this stream. 




74 





On that side of the road where the brook entered the wood, 
a group of oaks and chestnuts, matted thick with wild grape- 
vines, threw a cavernous gloom over it. To pass this bridge 
was the severest trial. It was at this identical spot that the 
unfortunate Andre was captured, and under the covert of those 
chestnuts and vines were the sturdy yeomen concealed who sur- 
prised him. This has ever since been considered a haunted 
stream, and fearful are the feelings of the schoolboy who has to 
pass it alone after dark. 

As he approached the stream his heart began to thump; he 
summoned up, however, all his resolution, gave his horse half 
a score of kicks in the ribs, and attempted to dash briskly across 
the bridge; but instead of starting forward, the perverse old 
animal made a lateral movement, and ran broadside against the 
fence. Ichabod, whose fears increased with the delay, jerked 
the reins on the other side, and kicked lustily with the contrary 
foot : it was all in vain ; his steed started, it is true, but it was 
only to plunge to the opposite side of the road into a thicket of 
brambles and alder bushes. The schoolmaster now bestowed 
both whip and heel upon the starveling ribs of old Gunpowder, 
who dashed forward, snuffling and snorting, but came to a 
stand just by the bridge, with a suddenness that had nearly 





sent his rider sprawling over his head. Just at this moment 
a plashy tramp by the side of the bridge caught the sensitive 
ear of Ichabod. In the dark shadow of the grove, on the mar- 
gin of the brook, he beheld something huge, misshapen, black 
and towering. It stirred not, but seemed gathered up in the 
gloom, like some gigantic monster ready to spring upon the 
traveler. 

The hair of the affrighted pedagogue rose upon his head 
w4th terror. What was to be done ? To turn and fly was now 
too late; and besides, what chance was there of escaping ghost 
or goblin, if such it was, which could ride upon the wings of 
the wind? Summoning up, therefore, a show of courage, he 
demanded in stammering accents — "AA ho are you?" He re- 
ceived no reply. He repeated his demand in a still more agi- 
tated voice. Still there was no answer. Once more he cud- 
gelled the sides of the inflexible Gunpowder, and, shutting his 
eyes, broke forth with involuntary fervor into a psalm tune. 
Just then the shadowy object of alarm put itself in motion, and, 
with a scramble and a bound, stood at once in the middle of the 
road. Though the night was dark and dismal, yet the form of 
the unknown might now in some degree be ascertained. He 
appeared to be a horseman of large dimensions, and mounted 





on a black horse of powerful frame. He made no offer of 
molestation or sociability, but kept aloof on one side of the 
road, jogging along on the blind side of old Gunpowder, who 
had now got over his fright and waywardness. 

Ichabod, who had no relish for this strange midnight com- 
panion, and bethought himself of the adventure of Brom Bones 
with the Galloping Hessian, now quickened his steed, in hopes 
of leaving him behind. The stranger, however, quickened his 
horse to an equal pace. Ichabod pulled up, and fell into a walk, 
thinking to lag behind — the other did the same. His heart 
began to sink within him ; he endeavored to resume his psalm 
tune, but his parched tongue clove to the roof of his mouth, and 
he could not utter a stave. There was something in the moody 
and dogged silence of this pertinacious companion, that was 
mysterious and appalling. It was soon fearfully accounted for. 
On mounting a rising ground, which brought the figure of his 
fellow-traveler in relief against the sky, gigantic in height, and 
muffled in a cloak, Ichabod was horror-struck, on perceiving 
that he was headless ! — but his horror was still more increased, 
on observing that the head, which should have rested on his 
shoulders, was carried before him on the pommel of the saddle : 
his terror rose to desperation ; he rained a shower of kicks 




79 





and blows upon Gunpowder, hoping, by a sudden movement, 
to give his companion the shp — but the spectre started full 
jump with him. Away then they dashed through thick and 
thin ; stones flying, and sparks flashing at every bound. Icha- 
bod's flimsy garments fluttered in the air, as he stretched his 
long lank body away over his horse's head, in the eagerness of 
his flight. 

They had now reached the road which turns off to Sleepy 
Hollow ; but Gunpowder, who seemed possessed with a demon, 
instead of keeping up it, made an opposite turn, and plunged 
headlong down hill to the left. This road leads through a 
sandy hollow, shaded by trees for about a quarter of a mile, 
where it crosses the bridge famous in goblin story, and just 
beyond swells the green knoll on which stands the whitewashed 
church. 

As yet the panic of the steed had given his unskilful rider 
an apparent advantage in the chase ; but just as he had got half 
way through the hollow, the girths of the saddle gave way, 
and he felt it slipping from under him. He seized it by the 
pommel, and endeavored to hold it firm, but in vain ; and had 
just time to save himself by clasping old Gunpowder round the 
neck, when the saddle fell to the earth, and he heard it tram- 




So 




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pled under foot by his pursuer. For a moment the terror of 
Hans V^an Ripper's wrath passed across his mind — for it was 
his Sunday saddle; but this was no time for petty fears; the 
goblin was hard on his haunches; and (unskilful rider that he 
was!) he had much ado to maintain his seat; sometimes slip- 
ping on one side, sometimes on another, and sometimes jolted 
on the high ridge of his horse's back-bone, with a violence that 
he verily feared would cleave him asunder. 

An opening in the trees now cheered him with the hopes that 
the church bridge was at hand. The wavering reflection of a 
silver star in the bosom of the brook told him that he was not 
mistaken. He saw the walls of the church dimly glaring under 
the trees beyond. He recollected the place where Brom Bones's 
ghostly competitor had disappeared. "If I can but reach that 
bridge," thought Ichabod, "I am safe." Just then he heard the 
black steed panting and blowing close behind him ; he even 
fancied that he felt his hot breath. Another convulsive kick in 
the ribs, and old Gunpowder sprang upon the bridge ; he thun- 
dered over the resounding planks ; he gained the opposite side ; 
and now Ichabod cast a look behind to see if his pursuer should 
vanish, according to rule, in a flash of fire and brimstone. Just 
then he saw the goblin rising in his stirrups, and in the very 



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act of hurling his head at him. Ichabod endeavored to dodge 
the horrible missile, but too late. It encountered his cranium 
with a tremendous crash — he was tumbled headlong into the 
dust, and Gunpowder, the black steed, and the goblin rider, 
passed by like a whirlwind. 

The next morning the old horse was found without his sad- 
dle, and with the bridle under his feet, soberly cropping the 
grass at his master's gate. Ichabod did not make his appear- 
ance at breakfast — dinner-hour came, but no Ichabod. The 
boys assembled at the school-house, and strolled idly about the 
banks of the brook ; but no schoolmaster. Hans Van Ripper 
now began to feel some uneasiness about the fate of poor 
Ichabod, and his saddle. An inquiry was set on foot, and after 
diligent investigation they came upon his traces. In one part 
of the road leading to the church was found the saddle tram- 
pled in the dirt ; the tracks of horses' hoofs deeply dented in 
the road, and evidently at furious speed, were traced to the 
bridge, beyond which, on the bank of a broad part of the brook, 
where the water ran deep and black, was found the hat of the 
unfortunate Ichabod, and close beside it a shattered pumpkin. 

The brook was searched, but the body of the schoolmaster 
was not to be discovered. Hans \^an Ripper, as executor of his 



84 






estate, examined the bundle which contained all his worldly 
effects. They consisted of two shirts and a half ; two stocks for 
the neck; a pair or two of worsted stockings; an old pair uf 
corduroy small-clothes ; a rusty razor ; a book of psalm tunes 
full of dogs' ears; and a broken pitchpipe. As to the books 
and furniture of the school-house, they belonged to the com- 
munity, excepting Cotton Mather's History of Witchcraft, a 
New England Almanac, and a book of dreams and fortune- 
telling ; in which last was a sheet of foolscap much scribbled 
and blotted in several fruitless attempts to make a copy of 
verses in honor of the heiress of Van Tassel. These magic 
books and the poetic scrawl were forthwith consigned to the 
flames by Hans Van Ripper ; who, from that time forward 
determined to send his children no more to school ; observ- 
ing, that he never knew any good come of this same reading 
and writing. Whatever money the schoolmaster possessed, 
and he had received his quarter's pay but a day or two before, 
he must have had about his person at the time of his disappear- 
ance. 

The mysterious event caused much speculation at the church 
on the following Sunday. Knots of gazers and gossips were 
collected in the church-yard, at the bridge, and at the spot 




85 




V^ 







where the hat and pumpkin had been found. The stories of 
Brouwer, of Bones, and a whole budget of others, were called 
to mind ; and when they had diligently considered them all, and 
compared them with the symptoms of the present case, they 
shook their heads, and came to the conclusion that Ichabod had 
been carried off by the Galloping Hessian. As he was a 
bachelor, and in nobody's debt, nobody troubled his head more 
about him ; the school was removed to a different quarter of the 
Hollow, and another pedagogue reigned in his stead. 

It is true, an old farmer, who had been down to New York 
on a visit several years after, and from whom this account of 
the ghostly adventure was received, brought home the intelli- 
gence that Ichabod Crane was still alive ; that he had left the 
neighborhood, partly through fear of the goblin and Hans Van 
Ripper, and partly in mortification at having been suddenly dis- 
missed by the heiress ; that he had changed his quarters to a 
distant part of the country ; had kept school and studied law 
at the same time, had been admitted to the bar, turned poli- 
tician, electioneered, written for the newspapers, and finally 
had been made a Justice of the Ten Pound Court. Brom Bones, 
too, who shortly after his rival's disappearance conducted the 
blooming Katrina in triumph to the altar, was observed to look 




86 





exceedingly knowing whenever the story of Ichabod was re- 
lated, and always burst into a hearty laugh at the mention of 
the pumpkin ; which led some to suspect that he knew more 
about the matter than he chose to tell. 

The old country wives, however, who are the best judges 
of these matters, maintain to this day that Ichabod was spirited 
away by supernatural means ; and it is a favorite story often 
told about the neighborhood round the winter evening fire. 
The bridge became more than ever an object of superstitious 
awe, and that may be the reason why the road has been altered 
of late years, so as to approach the church by the border of the 
mill-pond. The school-house being deserted, soon fell to de- 
cay, and was reported to be haunted by the ghost of the un- 
fortunate pedagogue; and the ploughboy, loitering homeward 
of a still summer evening, has often fancied his voice at a dis- 
tance, chanting a melancholy psalm tune among the tranquil 
solitudes of Sleepy Hollow. 





89 










^^V. 







POSTSCRIPT 

FO'uND IN THE HANDWRITING OF MR. KNICKERBOCKER 

The preceding' Tale is given, almost in the precise words 
hi which I heard it related at a Corporation meeting of the 
ancient city of Manhattoes, at which were present many of 
its sagest and most illustrious burghers. The narrator was 
a pleasant, shabby, gentlemanly old fellow, in pepper-and-salt 
clothes, with a sadly humorous face ; and one whom I strongly 
suspected of being poor, — he made such efforts to be entertain- 
ing. When his story was concluded, there was much laughter 
and approbation, particularly from two or three deputy alder- 
men, who had been asleep a greater part of. the time. There 
was, however, one tall, dry-looking old gentleman, with bee- 
tlino-evebrows, who maintained a grave and rather severe face 




90 



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throughout: now and then folding- his arms, inchning his head, 
and looking down upon the floor, as if turning a doubt over 
in his mind. He was one of your wary men, who never laugh, 
but upon good grounds — when they have reason and the law 
on their side. \Mien the mirth of the rest of the company had 
subsided, and silence was restored, he leaned one arm on the 
elbow of his chair, and, sticking the other akimbo, demanded, 
with a slight but exceedingly sage motion of the head, and 
contraction of the brow, what was the moral of the story, and 
what it went to prove. 

The story-teller, who was just putting a glass of wine to 
his lips, as a refreshment after his toils, paused for a moment, 
looked at his inquirer with an air of infinite deference, and, 
lowering the glass slowly to the table, observed, that the story 
was intended most logically to prove : — 

'That there is no situation in life but has its advantages 
and pleasures — provided we will but take a joke as we find it : 

"That, therefore, he that runs races with goblin troopers is 
likely to have rough riding of it. 

''Ergo, for a country schoolmaster to be refused the hand of 
a Dutch heiress, is a certain step to high preferment in the 
state." 



-v. 




91 (^ Jy^^y^^^^o^^ 




The cautious old gentleman knit his brows tenfold closer 
after this explanation, being sorely puzzled by the ratiocina- 
tion of the syllogism ; while, methought, the one in pepper-and- 
salt eyed him with something of a triumphant leer. At length, 
he observed, that all this was very well, but still he thought the 
story a little on the extravagant — there were one or two points 
on which he had his doubts. 

'Taith, sir," replied the story-teller, "as to that matter, I 

don't believe one-half of it myself." 

D. K. 




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